[FOUNTAIN]Lessons of the lost lamb

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[FOUNTAIN]Lessons of the lost lamb

In Christianity, the lamb symbolizes Jesus Christ, who atoned for the sins of man. Sometimes, it signifies a devotee who entered the way of salvation, led by the Good Shepherd. In the East, in contrast, the lamb is often used as an object of a quest that awakens a person to a certain philosophy or a way of life. The Daoist book “Zhuangzi” tells the story of lost sheep. Tsang and Ku, who were shepherds, both lost their sheep. Zhuangzi explained that Tsang was absorbed in reading while Ku was gambling. The sheep Tsang and Ku lost were their true natures and vocations. Zhuangzi metaphorically illustrated a situation where a man is so engrossed in amusement that he forgets his character and confuses the means and the end.
Yang Zhu, a Chinese philosopher from the Spring and Autumn Period, also pulled his thoughts together over a lamb. A neighbor lost a lamb, and all the villagers began searching for it. Even the servants working for Yang Zhu joined the search, but people returned empty-handed. Yang Zhu asked his neighbor why the lamb was not found even though so many people searched. He responded, “One crossroad kept on leading to another crossroad, and we could not find it in the end.” Realizing the obvious logic that you can never reach the destination if you don’t go in the right way, Yang Zhu kept silent for a long time. The expression “astray lamb lost at the crossroads” originated from that anecdote.
Koreans like to say, “Fixing up the shed after losing a cow,” when someone makes a belated fuss about losing something. The Chinese say, “Fixing up the shed after losing a lamb.” Unlike the critical Korean saying, the Chinese expression contains a more positive meaning. “Zhan Guo Ce,” or “Stratagems of the Warring States,” explains that when you find a hare, you take care of the hound, and when you lose a sheep, you repair the shed, and the efforts are not too late.
North Korea’s nuclear test is shaking the carefully maintained balance on the Korean Peninsula. With Pyongyang behaving so unpredictably, Korea is faced with possibly more serious threats. The situation is very unstable, as the North is expected to conduct additional nuclear tests.
The crisis lets us contemplate the lesson of the lost lamb. Before pursuing reform and self-reliance, the president needs to be faithful to his principle duty to pursue stability and prosperity. The statesmen should refrain from the politics of crossroads, which undermines national strength and unity when we face the North’s provocation. Every citizen has the responsibility to repair the shed with solid wood and cement and protect the remaining lambs.


by Yoo Kwang-jong

The writer is the Beijing correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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